Judge Urges Lesbian Couple In Adoption Fight To Take On Michigan's Marriage Ban

The Detroit Free Press
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August 30, 2012

A lawyer for a lesbian couple from Oakland County urged a federal judge today to allow them to jointly adopt three children despite a Michigan law that prevents unmarried couples from doing so.

But U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman suggested the couple amend their lawsuit to launch a frontal assault on the legal barrier that blocks them from adopting — Michigan’s constitutional amendment that prohibits same sex couples from marrying and, thus, jointly adopting children.

“I’m not looking for work,” Friedman told lawyers for April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse at the end of a 30-minute court hearing in Detroit. “I don’t want to push them into something they don’t want to do.”

Friedman gave the couple 10 days to decide whether to amend their lawsuit. If they don’t, he said, he likely would decide soon whether to grant Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s request to dismiss their suit.

One of the couple’s lawyers, Robert Sedler, a Wayne State University constitutional law professor, argued that Michigan law discriminates against the couple’s children. If one of their parents dies or becomes incapacitated, he said, the other parent cannot automatically step in as an adoptive parent.